Nigeria: Navy arrests Avengers’ strike force leader in Delta

*Weapons seized from Niger Delta Avengers.

*Operative of the Niger Delta Avengers.

24 September 2016, Warri — A suspected serial pipeline vandal and strike force leader of the Niger Delta Avengers has been arrested by the Nigerian Navy around Sapele Council Area of Delta State.

The suspect, Abraham Suru, also known as Gabon, from Ondo State, was arrested weeks after he had been declared wanted by the Nigerian military for being responsible incessant attacks on oil and gas facilities within Warri North and South-West Council areas of the state.

Parading the suspect before newsmen at the Warri Navy Base on Thursday, the Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship Delta, Commodore Joseph Dzunve said the suspect was arrested Tuesday 20 September 2016 around Sapele where he had been hiding.

Commodore Dzunve noted that Gabon’s arrest was part of intense efforts by the Navy through the Operation Delta Safe to flush out militants and other criminal elements from the region.

The Naval Chief said, “As part of the ongoing efforts by the Federal Government to stop crude oil theft and illegal bunkering activities in the nation’s maritime domain, the Nigerian Navy Ship Delta, being part of the Operation Delta Safe, has arrested a notorious gang leader who has been in this business since 2011.

“He (Abraham Suru aka Gabon) is involved in pipeline vandalism, sea robbery, attacks shipping, illegal bunkering and currently a suspected member of the Niger Delta Avengers.”

He added, “The Nigerian Navy remains committed to apprehending those behind all forms of criminal activities in the Nigerian Maritime Domain. Let me assure the general public that the Navy component of ODS is resolute in curbing criminal activities in the nation maritime environment.”

Answering questions from newsmen, Dzunve explained that the arrested Gabon was the ring-leader of one of the cell groups within the Niger Delta Avengers whose team members include one General Felix that had earlier been arrested by his operatives.

The arrested Suru confessed to allegations of being a militant and blowing up oil facilities in the region, including one at Dibi community in Warri North.

He said although he was not a member of the Niger Delta Avengers, he was recruited in 2011 into the criminal act by Genera Kaphapolo, a former militant leader who died recently in a ghastly motor accident; and has since then carried out series of attacks.

Gabon said, “General Kaphapolo told me that their youths are not being recognised by oil companies in the area and that is why we were attacking facilities.

“But after General Kaphapolo died in a motor accident, I was contacted by one General Tony Felix to join their team because they know I am capable of blowing up oil facilities. I am not a member of Niger Delta Avengers.”

*Ovie Okpare – Punch

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